Saturday, October 25, 2008

Garage Sales Galore in USA

garage sale
Photo of garage sale belong to John Beagle

It is garage sales galore in the United States of America now. With many hit by falling house prices, falling wages or worst, joblessness and a need to feed the family or to service the monthly installments, many Americans are turning to garage sales to raise some cash.

Three-year-old Marita is a victim of the economic malaise. She had to watched as her family sold possessions, including her tricycle, at a recent garage sale in Manteca, California. The tricycle was sold even while she was riding on it. Beatriz, her mother, had lost her job as a floral designer two months ago. The family were forced to celebrate Marita’s third birthday without presents last week. There was only a small cake with Cinderella on the vanilla frosting to mark her birthday. The family have more pressing problems to worry about. They are forced to move from their present residence. They will be moving into a rental apartment next month.

Marita and Beatriz are not the only one suffering and forced to resort to garage sales to raise cash. A sign on Klondike Way: “Tools, various household items, & much more!” And at Virginia Street: “Moving Sale! Fridge, washer & dryer, men’s clothing, bike, BBQ, dinette, dresser, fans, microwaves, recliner, DVD player. Everything must go!”

Constantino Gonzalez lost his construction job and was forced to economize by disconnecting the Internet and long-distance telephone service and cut down use of the family truck and jeep. Gonzalez is now picking up his children on his bicycle. Gonzalez now carry his 6 year old son Daniel on the handlebar of the bicycle with the jolts cushioned by a terry-cloth towel. They also very reluctantly sold their children’s favorite toy, an inflatable bounce house for US$650, with pump.

On Chenin Blanc Drive, Robert Dadey, a car salesman, was holding his 20th garage sale. He is forced to sell the Oakland Raiders memorabilia, teddy bears and US$40 brown ultrasuede recliner in his midst on the lawn because of the bad times.

Manteca, population 67,700 with a 32.7 percent Hispanic, and other towns in the northern San Joaquin Valley were thriving growth centers, with stucco subdivisions carved out of almond orchards. Now with the sub-prime and credit squeeze crisis, 1,500 to 2,000 homes in Manteca are in various stages of foreclosure. House prices have fallen drastically. Farnsworth's house was previously valued at US$375,000 three years ago. It is now only worth US$200,000 today.

Source: Garage sales on the rise with economic downturn

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Health Insurance

Insurance 101

Human have to face all kind of misfortunes or perils. For example, a breadwinner may fall sick and become unable to earn an income or even lose his life. Dependents will be faced with both emotional and financial loss. While emotional loses cannot be compensated, financial loss can be compensated if the breadwinner had bought health insurance (medical insurance) or life insurance. Insurance, as I see it, is almost as essential as the other must have - oxygen, water, food, shelter and clothings. Among a large pool of people, there will be a majority who are fortunate and not suffer any losses, but a small minority who suffered losses are compensated from the pool of money contributed to all who subscribed to insurance. Insurance is thus shared or pooled risks.

Types of insurance

Insurance can be divided into 2 main class - life insurance and general insurance.

Life Insurance

Life insurance is an insurance coverage that pays out a certain amount of money to the insured or their specified beneficiaries upon a certain event:

Premature death
Provide for Income during retirement

The main classes of life insurance are:

Whole life
Life annuity plan
Medical and health

General Insurance

General insurance can be described simply as those classes of insurance that do not fall into the class of life insurance. General insurance protects you against losses and damages not covered by life insurance such as property losses, accidental death and injuries and liability to third parties caused by negligence, etc.

The main classes of general insurance are:

Motor insurance
Fire/ Houseowners/ Householders insurance
Personal accident insurance
Medical and health insurance
Travel insurance

Health Insurance in North and South Carolina

Insurance do not come free. Those who wants to be protected by insurance against losses have to pay a certain sum of money to the insurance company that provides the insurance protection. These sum of money is referred to as insurance premium.

If you are located in North Carolina, you can find out more about insurance and get a quotation for North Carolina health insurance. For those resident in South Carolina, you can get more information and a quotation from South Carolina Health Insurance.